Bodmin Jail was previously dubbed one of Britain’s most haunted places, but now it’s been remade into a four-star hotel.
London-based studio Twelve Architects spent five years renovating the space. Now the Gothic fortress looks more like a modern sanctuary.
It was created by Napoleonic prisoners in the 1770s and many believed its former inmates haunted the property for decades after. Like the urban legend that prisoner Selina Wadge, who was convicted of murdering her son in 1878, lurked on Bodmin’s third and fourth floors. Legend has it that pregnant women become emotional when visiting the area because Wadge’s spirit lingers.
Thus, Matt Cartwright and Lorraine Stoutt Griffith, director and associate director of Twelve Architects, knew they had their work cut out for them.
When they first assessed the jail, five years ago, the atrium wings were covered in vegetation and inundated with birds. There were missing doors, broken roofs and damp walls dripped with condensation.
“You’ve got these juxtapositions between what it was used as and what it is as a piece of architecture,” Stoutt Griffith told Insider.
Twelve Architects had its doubts but took on the massive undertaking anyway. Fast forward to 2020 and the atriums have a glass roofs and minimalist metal walkways. There’s a glass elevator outside of the building to give visitors a view of the immense property. And each of the jail’s 70 cells has been furnished into cozy guest suites with massive bathrooms.
The hotel also has a tavern, restaurant and an interactive exhibit featuring the jail’s history.
“You don’t get spaces like this anymore,” Stoutt Griffith told Insider. “No one’s going to build a space like this. You’re inhabiting history.”
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